The Best Games of 2023

It’s that time of the year once again. The holiday season is upon us, Summer has hit down under, and the ever-expanding backlog of games has hit its peak. But at the end of the day, these must lay their claim to the game of the year conversation. As always, we’ve rounded up an honourable mention, along with 5 games that we believe make up the best games and experiences 2023 has had to offer.

Also, be sure to click on any of these entries to read our full reviews. Without further ado, let’s dive into the best games of 2023.

Honourable Mention – Final Fantasy XVI

It’s honestly amazing to see a franchise reinvent and reinvigorate itself this far into its existence, but I also guess that’s the case for many games and franchises this year. Regardless, Final Fantasy XVI has succeeded in blending tense and furious cinematic action with a touching story and an absolute banger of a soundtrack. There’s plenty to love about this new gang of ragtag characters, with this chapter leaving a lasting mark on hardcore and casual fans alike.

5. Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Weren’t we just speaking of franchises reinventing themselves? I guess Mario decided to join the party. Super Mario Bros. Wonder might seem like a safe bet at first, but once you come to terms with its new levels, abilities and visuals, it’s evident; Mario is back in a big way. While I feel like we don’t need to add much more here, I will say that it’s amazing just how accessible these games remain for gamers of all ages, as we usher in yet another generation, introducing them to the magic of Mario.

4. Resident Evil 4

Well… yeah. Another franchise reinvigorating and reinventing? Resident Evil 4’s remake certainly thinks so. While this experience is very much the same as we remember from 2005, it’s absolutely dripping in polish. From the slick visuals and refined gameplay, there’s honestly so much to love about this remake. Certain aspects of the original, like exploration and melee combat, have been given a glow-up, while certain missions have even been revised to feel more in line with modern expectations. What can we say about Resident Evil 4 that hasn’t already been said already? Go play this game.

3. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The franchises roll on. What felt like an eternity between this and Breath of the Wild now feels justified. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom deepens and expands on its predecessor in almost every way, complete with new layers of Hyrule to explore, and an involving story that is worth checking out even if you’re not up to speed with the characters and overall franchise. It’s certainly still set in its general pacing and mechanics, but it’s honestly so hard to complain when it all works as well as it does.

2. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 satisfied me to the core. Its already fantastic gameplay was strengthened with new ways to fight goons and traverse New York City, tied together by an emotional tale of growth and friendship. While it also plays things safe in terms of its existing tropes and mechanics, newly introduced characters like Harry and Kraven propel the story and larger franchise forward with confidence, making for one of the most well-paced and engaging narrative experiences you can have this year.

1. Baldur’s Gate 3

And here we are. Baldur’s Gate 3 was honestly the biggest surprise of the year for me, as I’m not really into turn-based RPGs or even Dungeons & Dragons. But the virtually endless opportunities and sense of freedom this game allows for through its incredible character creation and development, multiple layered stories and supporting characters and sheer number of ways to interact with the world, is as mind-boggling as it was the day we picked this one up.

You don’t really need to have played previous entries in the franchise, nor know anything about these characters. But it’s certainly a ride worth taking at least once. I guess that’s all it takes to leave you hooked on Baldur’s Gate 3, as we were. Developer Larion Studios has simply created one of the best RPG experiences of all time.

And that’s a wrap! Do you agree with these picks on our list? Did we mention one of your favourites? Either way, we feel there’s no better time to try these if you haven’t! From all of us here at The AU Review, we would also like to take this time to wish you all a very Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2024!

Matthew Arcari

Matthew Arcari is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. You can find him on Twitter at @sirchunkee, or at the Dagobah System, chilling with Luke and Yoda.